There’s no mistaking Ray Fuchs’ race car when he’s at Brainerd International Raceway for the Muscle Car Series. It’s a wicked-looking 1953 Studebaker, painted red with black flames. And it’s very fast.
Fuchs and his Studebaker were at BIR July 5-7 for the 27th Annual NAPA Auto Parts Show & Go. He patiently spent Friday and Saturday getting the car dialed in rather than pushing it for a top qualifying position, and the strategy seemed to pay off. Fuchs earned his way into BIR’s Winners Circle Sunday.
Fuchs won the Pro Outlaw Class by beating Craig Braun and his 1968 Firebird in the finals with a lightning-fast run of 6.811 seconds at 204.14 mph. Braun was 26/100ths of a second slower off the starting line and it cost him at the finish line, as he placed second with a time of 6.840 seconds and 200.74 mph.
“We didn’t go for a great qualifying position,” Fuchs said of his three qualifying runs on Friday and Saturday. “We were more interested in stepping up the car every round, and we were able to do that. It seemed to work out.”
During last year’s Show & Go, Fuchs was on the losing end of a super-close race in the Pro Outlaw finals. He was matched up against Dean Bauerly and his 2011 Pontiac, which had been consistently making 7.0-second runs at about 200 mph. In the finals, Bauerly beat Fuchs off the starting line by 56/100ths for a second and Fuchs couldn’t catch him, losing by 1/100th of a second.
“We’ve learned a lot about the car since then,” Fuchs said. “We changed up the suspension and did some tranny work. We’re trying new things and it seems to be working.”
With Fuchs’ win, he will take over first place in the Pro Outlaw point standings, with one race left to go in the Muscle Car Series: the 25th Annual Muscle Car Shootout Labor Day weekend.
The Pro Outlaw Class is typically the fastest class in the Muscle Car Series but Peter Campbell’s speeds in the Outlaw Class were even faster. Driving a ’68 Camaro, Campbell was runner up in the Outlaw Class after losing to Jake Delmonico in the finals despite ripping off a pass of 7.257 seconds and 213.27 mph. Delmonico ran 7.965 seconds and 170.28 mph but Campbell was disqualified on the starting line.
Campbell was the No. 1 qualifier and posted the class’s fastest time (7.088 seconds) and top speed (213.27 mph). Delmonico will retain the top spot in the point standings after winning the class in the series’ first race, the Street Car Showdown Memorial Day weekend.
The Pro Outlaw and Outlaw classes are the two showcase classes during the NAPA Auto Parts Show & Go, which is one of BIR’s most popular events each year. In addition to three days of drag racing, the event featured the Central Roadracing Association’s Superbike racing on the 2.5-mile Competition Road Course. It’s club racing by some of the best amateur racers in the state. Saturday’s events included a classic car show, live music and a fireworks display, all of which were well attended despite soggy weather that chased fans indoors throughout the day.
A new addition to the Muscle Car Series this year is the 660 Outlaw Street Class. BIR shortens up the drag strip from a quarter mile to an eighth mile and puts restrictions on the cars that level the playing field. It’s a type of racing that’s gaining popularity across the country.
David Senderhauf Jr. was sitting in first place in 660 Outlaw Street with his finals win at the Street Car Showdown, but he was knocked off in the second round Sunday by eventual winner Lucas Minor, who finished as the No. 1 qualifier with the fastest time (4.933 seconds) and the top speed (159.36 mph).
Minor and his black 2001 Trans Am beat Nick Strohbeen in the finals with a time of 4.972 seconds and 154.94 mph to Strohbeen’s 5.065 seconds and 146.07 mph. Strohbeen was in third place and Minor was in fourth place going into the weekend, so it’ll be crowded at the top of the points standings in the 660 class when the points are finalized this week.
In King Street, Brian Mahnke continued his domination of the class by beating David Sash in the finals. Mahnke has won the series championship for King Street all four years and has been either a winner or runner up in every race. He’s on his way to sweeping the class again this year if he wins during the Muscle Car Shootout. Mahnke and his 1972 Camaro were the No. 1 qualifier this weekend.
In Real Street Unlimited, Jad Carlson easily beat Jim Ripley in the finals by posting a time of 8.522 seconds and 171.47 mph to Ripley’s 10.670 seconds and 95.95 mph. Carlson had lost to Ripley in the Street Car Showdown finals and was sitting in second place in the point standings, just three points behind Ripley. They will need the Muscle Car Shootout as a tie-breaker.
The Show & Go also features two more Heads-Up Classes, three Strip Eliminator classes, Truck Eliminator, Manual Transmission and 10 Index classes. The winners of the 10 Index classes are paired up for a run-off to determine the Index Class Champion. That honor went to Kevin Sand, who won the 10.00 Index Class and then won his way to the finals against Gary Olson, who won the 12.00 Index Class. Sand and his 1983 Cierra snuck by Olson at the finish line with a time of 10.054 seconds and 125.10 mph.
Below are results from the 27th Annual NAPA Auto Parts Show & Go. Click here to view the points standings for each class in the Muscle Car Series.
Finals: Ray Fuchs of Bowman, N.D. def. Craig Braun of Hampton
Semifinals: Fuchs had a bye; Braun def. Bill Krech of Inver Grove Heights
Finals: Jake Delmonico of St. Paul Park def. Peter Campbell of W. St. Paul
Semifinals: Delmonico def. Paul Gibbs of Eagan; Campbell def. Brian Carpenter of Forest Lake
Finals: Brian Mahnke of Proctor def. Dave Sash of Duluth
Semifinals: Mahnke def. Jason Geiger of Hanska; Sash had a bye
Real Street Unlimited
Finals: Jad Carlson of Hermantown def. Jim Ripley of Duluth
Semifinals: Carlson def. Cling Gregerson of Grand Rapids; Ripley def. Dennis Orr of Superior, Wis.
Real Street Natural
Finals: Matt Sathre of Brooklyn Park def. Kelly Rutz of Randall
Semifinals: Sathre had a bye; Rutz def. Kevin Pallow of Andover
Finals: Todd Malik of Andover def. Justin Olsen of Cokato
Semifinals: Malik def. Andy Lehner of St. Paul Park; Olsen def. Zack Novak of Sauk Rapids
660 Outlaw Street
Finals: Lucas Minor of Winnipeg, Manitoba def. Nick Strohbeen of Roseville
Semifinals: Minor def. David Senderhauf of Zimmerman; Strohbeen def. Jim Frendt of Cottage Grove
Strip Eliminator 1
Strip Eliminator 2
Finals: Gary Olson of Sartell def. TJ Tharaldson of East Bethel
Semifinals: Olson had a bye; Tharaldson def. Jacob Moske of Mora
Strip Eliminator 3
Finals: Dan Hyttsten of Monticello def. Gary Tesar of Medina
Semifinals: Hyttsten def. Jessica Enberg of Plymouth; Tesar def. Thomas Madsen of Lino Lakes
Finals: David Adams of Brooklyn Center def. Troy Anderson of St. Paul
Semifinals: Adams had a bye; Anderson def. Robert Eiden of Grand Rapids
Finals: Bill Diers of Clear Lake def. Chris Moorman of St. Michael
Semifinals; Diers def. Keith Kuss of Zimmerman; Moorman had a bye
Finals: Eric James of St. Cloud def. Austin Siemers of Milaca
Semifinals: James def. Mark Leasure of Eagan; Siemers def. Pat Huebner of Bloomington
Finals: Kevin Sand of Cambridge def. Norm Gensmer of Zimmerman?
Semifinals: Sand def. Tom Durand of Little Canada; Gensmer def. Bruce Johnson of Duluth
Finals: Mike Hammerstrom of Bemidji def. Keith Sand of Cambridge|
Semifinals: Hammerstrom def. Greg Bednar of Mankato; Sand def. Dennis McMillan of Elko
Finals: Leon Vinkemeier of Belle Plaine def. Jason Hartkopf of Eden Valley
Semifinals: Vinkemeier had a bye; Hartkopf def. Mike Yocum of Perham
Finals: Greg Dancer of Foley def. Dave Vasseur of Rogers
Semifinals: Dancer def. Charlie Todd of Cottage Grove; Vasseur def. Ryan Merritt of Duluth
Finals: Gary Olson of Sartell def. Jeff Purdham of Albertville
Finals: Rick Gulbranson of Hermantown def. Calvin Thaemert of Cologne
Semifinals: Gulbranson def. Bobbie Halverson of Cook; Thaemert def. Brian Ellenson of Park Rapids
Finals: Jesse Backstrom of Grand Marais def. Kevin Hemenway of Park Rapids
Semifinals: Backstrom def. Jim Carlson of Minneapolis; Hemenway def. Bruce Morley of Brainerd
Finals: Shannon Halverson of Cook def. Gary Carlson of Duluth
Semifinals: Halverson def. Greg Schmidt of Baxter; Carlson def. Gary Nelson of North Branch
Finals: Brad Nybo of Coon Rapids def. Dan Hyttsten of Monticello
Semifinals: Nybo def. Gary Tesar of Medina; Hyttsten had a bye
Index Class Champion
Finals: Kevin Sand of Cambridge (10.00) def. Gary Olson of Sartell (12.00)
Semifinals: Sand had a bye; Olson def. Eric James of St. Cloud (9.50)